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December 27, 2009

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Construction ends on Japan Pavilion

CONSTRUCTION finished yesterday on Japan Pavilion at the World Expo 2010 Shanghai site. The country plans to highlight its smart robots and friendly ties with China at the Expo.

The robots will be shipped to Shanghai around March, said Hiroshi Tsukamoto, commissioner general of Japan Pavilion.

A dozen robots will be exhibited in the pavilion. Some will assist the elderly while others will play violins.

A 90-seat restaurant will serve Japanese food costing more than 300 yuan (US$43.95) a meal, Chiaki Takahashi, parliamentary secretary of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, said at a press conference after a ceremony marking the completion of construction.

A teahouse surrounded by Sakura trees will showcase sado, or Japanese tea-making skills, in the pavilion.

More than 1.75 million Japanese are expected to visit the Expo site during the 184-day event, accounting for 2.5 percent of total Expo visitors, Takahashi said.

A large number of these will visit at the beginning of May, when Japan has a weeklong Labor Day holiday, he added.

Japan Pavilion, usually amongst the most popular pavilions at World Expos, is expected to attract 17,000 visitors every day.

Tsukamoto said the pavilion's centerpiece performance will be an opera combining China's Kunqu opera and Japan's Noh drama.

The opera will tell the true story of a rare bird that avoided extinction in Japan due to the help of China.

The Crested Ibis was declared extinct in Japan in the 1970s. However, the Chinese government began giving Crested Ibis birds to Japan in the 1990s. The birds managed to re-establish themselves in Japan.

The 20-minute opera will be performed in the pavilion's 500-seat theater. A total of 35 sessions will be performed every day.

With a budget of 13 billion yen (US$143 million), the pavilion is the largest and most costly Japan has ever built for a World Expo.


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